There are so many things I can do, and do well at that.

A picture of freehand nail art, done on my own nails using nail polishes, showing a drawing of a small gnome with a bright red hat, surrounded by berries and flowers, on a green to brown gradient background

I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my nail art, for starters, and a lot of people have suggested I could do this professionally. I don’t think I’m at the level yet that I’ve seen from professional nail techs, but it’s a special interest and I’d probably get there within a year.

I’m a good cook. Not at restaurant level (mostly because my presentation sucks), but if someone asked me to cater an event for 30 people, I’d nail that. I’m really good with taste and texture and what foods work well together. And I rock beer pairings.

I’m a damn good writer. Mostly blog posts, sometimes essays. Even release notes and user manuals. I’m detailed and structured and I have an awesome command of language. I know how to grab someone’s attention.

I’m a good carpenter. I simply *know* how things fit together. It’s called carpenter’s eye in Dutch, just seeing how something might be a millimetre off level without measuring. And I can think up creative solutions when things don’t work out the way you planned.

I can do both front-end and back-end web development. I taught myself. It’s a special interest (another one). And I know I could be even better if I really dedicated myself to a single thing. As it is now, I’m more of a troubleshooter, finding bugs in existing code. I can build simple websites by myself, though. And I know how to work with databases, web servers, and domain name configuration. There is nothing that I can’t figure out with a little bit of time and some Google Fu.

I have an eye for fashion and styling. I know what looks good on people, what silhouettes and colours enhance their natural beauty. I see beauty in everyone, which helps a lot. And I love colour theory. Another special interest.

I’m a cat whisperer. I could do fostering or shelter work. Nothing about cat behaviour fazes me, and I can usually fix it. Mia was a bad case, peeing everywhere out of stress and separation anxiety, but she is a healthy and lovely cat these days. Guido chose me at the cat shelter by ripping my arm open from elbow to wrist. Sweet Guido. ❤

I’m a good photographer, and with better equipment I could take even better photos. The stuff I do now is just by using my camera phone and a little bit of editing. I have an eye for detail, lighting, and framing.

I could probably think of a dozen other talents or occupations I’d excel at, but the fact is that none of it will work. For every single thing I’m good at, the biggest stumbling block will be that I’m horrible at acquiring new clients, or not offending my managers with my bluntness, or performing those little social rituals that make people trust you and want to do business with you. My talents don’t count.

And the effort of performing at that social level, even at a basic level that people expect from everyone, not even succeeding at that, leaves me so exhausted that I call in sick far more often than other people, thereby guaranteeing even more marks against me. I can’t stop doing it because 40+ years of experience has taught me that if I stop paying attention to the unwritten social rules, stop trying to fit myself into that mold, the results are even more disastrous. So I keep doing it. To survive.

And I still end up unemployed and unappreciated.

14 thoughts on “Talents

  1. Oh so absolutely Yes! It seems that the days of employers recognizing that they need to expect & at least ignore (if not accommodate) ‘eccentricities’ in some employees in order to benefit from the brilliance of those employees is long gone. Absent minded professors, single minded researchers whose wives had to drag them in for a meal, businessmen whose secretaries ‘mothered’ them all seem to be of the past – subject to ridicule now…

    • You might notice that all those stereotypes are masculine. People seen as women were never afforded those accomodations.

  2. It hurts to hear of your struggles. In this month of autism “awareness,” I pray that people would “understand.”

  3. Up until a couple years ago I could mask enough to hold down a job. Now I’m too exhausted to make that happen – at least in my previous profession. I’m fairly certain my fibro/chronic fatigue is related to being a person that is not me for most of my educational and professional life. Now I don’t even much know what talents I have other than being kind and empathetic to those who need it – which is pretty much why I decided to comment at all to let you know you’re not alone and that you matter very much. And that your worthiness as a human being is not determined by how much money you can make or – let’s be honest – how much profit you can generate for others.

  4. I so a MILLION percent get it.

    My list would be slightly different – WOW TO THAT NAIL **ART**!!!! – but my “self-promotion” and “networking” skills? Nonexistent.

    And it’s not that I want to be “famous” or anything like that. I just want to earn enough to not be terrified all the time.

    Thanks for putting this into words – and very happy to see you are writing again.

    Full Spectrum Mama

  5. I recognize the being tired, oh. so. bleeping. tired. I have to quit my current employ because I just couldn’t hack the regular meetings. I’d go in decently fresh and come out with my head swimming and tearly drowning. It’s mostly the effect of having to do the social thing, and listening to people talk while simultaneously forming my own opinions. Keeping what I want to say in mind while others are talking is incredibly difficult (writing it down helps somewhat, but then I have to rebuild the actual sentence/argument when it’s my turn). When they told me that I had to keep going to meetings or find another place I was angry and short with everyone there for at least a week.

  6. I am also good at cooking, and I LOVE carpentering and I am also good at it! Is it possible to have ur own company and team up with someone with good social skills?

  7. I found your site a few years ago on my journey to realising what and who I am. I got a diagnosis last year. I check in here for a lurk once in a while. I missed this one by a few months then. Nice to see that you are posting again. Nice nails, by the way.

  8. You always commented so nicely when I was active and it’s good to see that we’ve both returned to tell of our current states. I too remain unemployed while people tout my talents. It’s difficult when people try to balance a personal talent with the crippling effects of the outside world and try to find a way to establish a way you can work as if you haven’t tried a thousand times. I wish you all the best in life. It may not be perfect, but it’s what we have, and it’s something to hold on to.

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